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Going for the Gold

“I love running because I feel blessed with an amazing gift that I try to use to the best of my ability.  It allows me to grow and see improvement, it lets my competitive nature run wild and it brings me peace and joy.” – Allyson Felix, three-time Olympic gold medalist.

USA Track & Field was key to America’s success at the London Olympics this summer. With 124 athletes in tow – including sprinters, jumpers, marathoners, throwers, and pole vaulters – USA Track & Field was the largest team in London!  Each of the 45 track and field events had spectators flying out of their seats as they watched Team USA cruise to victory, clenching 29 medals overall!

To encourage more of America’s youngsters to get involved in running, USA Track & Field teamed up with Let’s Move! and the Partnership for a Healthier America to provide beginner programming to 120,000 kids this year. You can learn more about track and field opportunities near you on PHA’s Olympic web portal

Watch: Members of the USA Track & Field Team encouraging kids to get active

To help families get started, USA Track & Field put together some pointers for kids and their parents:  

Ten Tips to Get Started in Track & Field

  1. Running boosts cardiovascular health and increases aerobic capacity and leg strength. For these reasons, running is the foundation of many popular sports, including soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, and football.  
  2. For parents seeking a kid-friendly workout, head to a local track.  Run or jog laps around the track while your kids play on the infield. Encourage your kids to join you for your first and last few laps – then take to the field for cool-down stretching. 
  3. For a break from running, try a “field” event, like throwing.  Head out to your backyard or a nearby park for a game of catch, or Frisbee. Hold a throwing contest and give each person three attempts to see how far they can throw.
  4. Want to work on math skills while you move?  With a yardstick or measuring tape, help your child measure out 29’4½”— Mike Powell’s American Record in the long jump.  How many jumps does it take you to clear this distance?  Practice this together a few times until you all see improvement.
  5. Start a family routine of regular walks or runs. Pick one or more days of the week to commit to family walking or running time. Log your miles or city blocks in a visible place (i.e., a whiteboard, a chart on the refrigerator door) and set goals for the entire family.  How many weeks will it take you to cover the same distance it would take you to drive to school, to grandma’s house, or even to another state?
  6. Get outside and play games with your kids. Simple games like tag and capture the flag get us all running without even thinking about it!
  7. Make running a social activity! Join a club or team and get to know people while you get moving. There are thousands of USA Track & Field clubs across the country. For more information and to find a club near you, visit www.usatf.org.
  8. Ready, set, GO… with your kids!  Find a local road race that has a fun-run for kids.  Races are fun, exciting, and rewarding, no matter what place you finish. 
  9. Running is a sport for all ages. Track and field is the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and there are more than 30 million adult runners in the United States.
  10. What are you waiting for? No matter where you live or how old you are, you can get a great workout with no more than a pair of shoes and a safe route. To find tracks and running routes in your area, check out USA Track & Field’s online database here.